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The Shutdown

Congress is a destructive mess.  Normally, that wouldn’t be news because it’s always been fairly dysfunctional, but they have taken that to a whole new level.

Those elected to the top levels of American Government have now literally said “America is closed for business," unless the people at the top have determined that you are an “exception” (which is the new politically correct term for what they used to call “essential employees”).

While there’s a ton of fodder there for debate and discussion, our focus is on our federal members who are affected by the mess the politicians have created.  And we are monitoring the shutdown to determine its potential affect on federal grants to jurisdictions that are in the pipeline for payment.

While we don’t have any answers, yet, on how the grants will be affected (other than the fact that a longer shutdown will likely delay payments to some jurisdictions, but we don’t know any details at this point), we do have some information from 16th District Vice President Jim Johnson on how our federal members are being affected.  Below are some of the missives from the field he’s sent in.  We will continue to update this blog as DVP Johnson and our IAFF staff gets more information.

Shutdown morning – 10/1/13
At some Federal Fire department locations fire fighters were greeted this morning when they got to work with notices that they should go home. Some of the notifications were done by email stating that an official written notice would be coming, but in the meantime they should consider the email notice that they should leave work immediately.

"Most of the messages were sent to fire inspectors and some supervisory personnel," says DVP Johnson.  "For the most part the operational fire fighters appear to be getting exceptions from the shutdown and are being required to continue to work their shifts. The problem is although they are required to be at work they will not get paid until appropriations are provided by Congress.”

Day 2 – 10/2/13
How does the government shutdown affect fire fighters’ pay?
USMC sent out a message to their commands saying exempt civilians would be paid.  On the Department of Defense’s website a statement from Secretary Chuck Hagel says exempt civilians would be paid also. 

“On the pay - things are still fluid.  So I am cautiously optimistic on the pay,” DVP Johnson says.   “All of our HR counterparts the locals usually deal with are not in so there is no information coming from them.  The agency level fire chiefs have also apparently been furloughed, as well as our usual DoD Fire protection POC. ”

When will fire fighters get paid?

“As of right now the Army is saying that exempt fire fighters will not get any pay, until after an appropriations (bill) is passed,” says DVP Johnson. “ Perhaps in a few days more information will follow. All the pay matters will be resolved eventually and our members working will eventually get paid.” 

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